Bali, Family, Food, Life, Love, Naiise

Three Days to Bali!! + Happy Pictures

TGIF folks!! It’s a rare moment of freshly-showered peace, and I’m just simply, looking forward to a well-deserved break in Bali.

It will be the first vacation I’ve had where being away actually means work piling up. One of the most overlooked luxuries of working in a larger organisation is the assurance that someone capable will cover your duties while you’re away. I am guilty of overlooking that one too, so treasure it if you do! Say thank you very much to your colleagues.

That said, our little team has expanded over the last few weeks, and I’m really happy and thankful that there are more hands, legs and fingers to keep the show running faster, and at a more manageable pace for everyone. I love it too that we are able to find, and work with, people who are passionate about making the business grow and succeed.

This morning was spent looking for offices – it’s probably one of the most exciting things that can ever happen for a company. The exhilaration of contemplating empty spaces and turning it into an amazing place where people can work happily.. is frankly, quite fantasy-inducing.Industrial spaces can be so beautiful with their double, triple volume spaces, I don’t think I can quite adjust back to shoebox apartment hunting.

We had a great past couple weeks with good coverage, and we’re also excited to introduce the launch of our new food section which features locally made food from small-scale makers here. Like the rest of our designers and makers, our food producers do amazing things with produce we already have here, and we love being able to support them on our platform.

I’ve tried the jams and granola so far, and they are very, very good. In fact, I personally swear by a bowl of Greek yogurt and Coconut Gula Melaka granola every morning, and I think I’m losing 500g everyday without even trying to. There must be some wisdom in the old adage “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner”. Cf: funny local publication My Mother Says 😉

Plus bonus: and of course it’s the only place you can get my sister’s famous macarons without having to camp on Instagram and wait for one of those SALE posts which close in like an hour -_-”

In non-work news, WE ARE SOOO LOOKING FORWARD TO BALI. All I want to do is lie at the beach and stare out into the open sea, pillion on a bike behind D, head back to our villa and jump into the pool. Maybe find that mysterious taco place in Seminyak that we’ve always wanted to find, but never quite were able to. And, of course, dine at our all-time favourite La Lucciola (so good it doesn’t even have a website).

Happy times lie ahead, and happy pictures for the post below 🙂

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Farewell to the beautiful people at NONG

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Me and D, shot by the awesome Weekend Cheoks, a lifestyle blog run by Stacey and her two sisters who’ve been very supportive of Naiise x

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Then we had another photo shoot and an interview where we were asked the question “So, who wears the pants?” It’s actually pretty nice to have pictures of us taken by someone else! 😛

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Then we had the ‘act natural’ picture – I like this lots 🙂

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And which self-respecting person these days wouldn’t have a mandatory hipster shot when hanging around in grimy areas? We’re such fun.

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Last weekend’s bento picnic with the family, D and Kira. LOVE, DIE HARD LOVE.

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Life, Naiise

The End Of Q1.. Can’t Wait For The Next!

So today marks the end of our pop up store at Naiise, and while D is feeling quite sentimental about it, I’m perfectly fine. I think it was AWESOME, it was a fantastic ride, and we made lots of great friends who subscribe to this crazy, hippie thing called DREAMS, mixed with a little bit of DOWN TO EARTH.

But all good things need to come to an end, and I’m ready for it. And our upcoming vacation too, finally!

I know I’ve been somewhat absent on the blog, but hey – if you really want to stalk, you can follow my alter-ego @naiise on Instagram, and my real self @amandinaxx. And for fun peeks at all the cool and amazing things that have gone on at NONG, just search #nongpopup and #naiise.

(Is this a good time to break into a little rant about how much I hate Facebook these days, from a business perspective and would rather embrace Instagram which creates a much more organic, loyal following? Next time perhaps.)

One of the most special things about NONG was its inaccessibility and strangely beautiful location – the type that makes you suspend reality for a minute and escape the crazy world of incessant brunches and poseur affairs. Even the leaking air con systems – a la HK style – were perfectly genuine and sincere in their manners towards us.

Due to an ongoing battle between the car-park and building landlords (straight out of a Channel 8 movie), we weren’t allowed to have signages anywhere to direct traffic upward. So there was no ‘foot traffic’, only inquisitive, persistent souls who discovered NONG via Facebook and/or Instagram, and specially made the trip down.

And we loved meeting you, every single one of you – from the random weekends, to our wildly successful Hit The Roof party, to Singapore Design Week (we were one of the pit stops for the Design Trail), to workshops spanning a wide range of lifestyle topics (make your own plant babies, make your own kimchi, make your own bar stool, etc). All of it. We even liked the crazy scientists and environmentalists that swung by some times.

D conceived Naiise as being design for everyone, and I think finally understood it.

Anyway, let me run back to my other tab. I have products to upload and HR protocols to read.

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Life, Naiise, Singapore, Society

A February Barrage Of Things!

Hello friends, it’s been a while no?

Let me regale you with a picture of my usual flexible self. Yup, white background, studio shot and a made-up visage – that is right, we have new dresses up on The Scarlette soon. Otherwise, you’d find me running around town in denim cut-offs and thin white cotton tees that feel like heaven in this heat.

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So let’s do some catching up, shall we?

First off, a shameless plug for some really cool things on Naiise.com you should check out in your spare time:

Boskke – upside down sky planters, just the sort of hipster adornment your kitchen needs to achieve a Kinfolk Table moment. Think: reaching up, grabbing some organic, home-grown rosemary to season your steak.

Plumen – cool industrial light bulbs. If I’ve learned anything from making and hanging my own industrial light bulbs at NONG, it’s that cheap or vintage light bulbs blow easily and pose a fire hazard. Better to go with these designer energy-saving ones instead or risk having a burned down home.

Things I Saw/Ate/Did In Singapore – really cute letterpress printed checklist Singapore postcards for out-of-town friends.

Mee & Kuehs – one of the best things of being at NONG is meeting lots of new and interesting people – gardeners, cooks, social entrepreneurs, nature lovers, community engagers, the list goes on. One of my favourite people is Shu Han Lee, a cookbook author and graphic designer who runs the blog Mummy, I Can Cook! while retailing her own line of self-designed Mee and Kueh posters.

Amai – handmade porcelain plates from Saigon, courtesy of Galanga Living in Singapore. So pretty I want to eat them all!

Next,

Confessions of a noob gawker at a recent dessert bake-off: in short, it reflects nothing about real life. When someone tells you to “Instagram-off” something, it’s a warning signal. Pick my brain IRL for unadulterated version.

Next next,

What will you do if you were at a popular brunch spot, at the only wheelchair-accesssible table in the whole restaurant, and a lady (me) is waiting from 11am to noon for your table, and at noon her frail wheelchair-bound grandmother arrives? Will you offer to re-group at another table (as I totally would), or will you sit there and say “oh no, but we have one more person coming so we’re not leaving soon” all the while tut-tuting and looking around in mock concern to see if we can find another seat?

Hello Madame, there is no other seat. And you’ve totally ruined our family brunch – all we wanted to do was bring my granny to today’s newfangled brunch spots, show her what kiddos are up to these days.

It was the day my faith in local humanity suffered an extra big kink. I have a million mean things to wish upon you, but let’s refrain from that. And I do not you don’t suffer the same indignity two decades later. You’re not that young, old age is upon you soon.

Next, next, next, (happier things)

Really need a vacation, ha ha ha.

Lastly,

I miss this space. Happy to be writing again! ❤

Final Lastly,

I have a favorite dessert from Nat – it is this, and it is AMAZING. I told her that it’s one of the best desserts ever because everyone loves something in it. Deb and Gabby liked the pâte à choux (ok I confess that I had to copy and paste that), someone else liked the crunch caramel, Micki and I liked the lemon cream, and D probably liked the whole thing (he has very love-it-all taste buds). Yum, and proud/grateful sister moment! ❤

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Naiise, Sustainable Living

Searching For Inspiration And Finding It

I’d already decided what I was going to begin this post with – I normally do a lot of mental composing before actually writing – and it was going to start like this: “So this is fatigue.”

But, this got to me so a little reminder to myself, and everybody else: Life is short, it’s time to start living.

So back to the story:

So this is fatigue. Not the sort borne out of sitting at the desk staring into a monitor, but the sort that comes from driving up and down Singapore, meeting suppliers and collecting goods, hauling wooden pellets all over the place, arranging and re-arranging the store, endless writing product tags, sweeping the floor, hanging fairy lights, hanging industrial lights, endless photoshopping, hammering nails and blah, blah, blah.

Well, of course I exaggerated – all of the above was split between D and myself, but that’s still a mighty lot to do and, in between, we also managed to learn several things about organic farming, plus grow our own peppermint.

The culmination of all this: our first ever pop up store, held in collaboration with Edible Gardens, a local movement that aims to turn Singapore’s dense urban spaces into farms, and their community outreach arm, NONG, which aims to promote growing your own food. We (Naiise) come in as a retail partner for the event, alongside workshops and a gallery by Haystakt, and are retailing a pretty cool bunch of sustainably made/sourced, upcycled, recycled and locally designed products that encourage meaningful and sustainable living with design.

Check out our retail centrepiece – a beautiful D-I-Y table laid with real Norwegian Reindeer Moss placemats and vibrant kitchenware that brings to life the concept of farm-to-table, thus tying in together Edible Garden’s farms, and our retail offering. It was a stroke of genius by D (yes, I was impressed!), I guess I am better off hauling wooden pellets or doing something equally mundane.

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To us, collaborating is a meeting of two minds that share a similar vision. Like the dreamers that we are, we instinctively connect with people that want to make the world a better place, who believe in outreach, education, and solidarity with the community to effect change.

NONG pop-up store will run until end-March on the 6th floor rooftop car park of People’s Park Complex (access by residential lift near KFC on the ground floor) and you can find more information about the event itself (including workshops) here.

It’s a great location – a surprising little quiet spot above the urban sprawl of Chinatown, with grand views of the surrounding CBD, an endless supply of fresh wind created by pressure that flows between the buildings. When night falls, it’s magical – it’s like being on one of those rooftop patios in shanty houses you see in Korean dramas (the kind the poor chick normally stays in) with beautiful views of N Seoul Tower.

Best of all, it’s the people that stream in and out – clearly convention breakers in their own right. Lots of ex Ivy League farmers, regular farmers (without the Ivy League), social entrepreneurs, artists, designers, architects, baristas, home growers, housewives, retirees, students, bloggers, scientists, yoga teachers and your everyday person. The conversations are always enriching, and I’ve learned so much by standing beside various people and learning all sorts of things across all sorts of genres. It’s very stimulating, and I love it.

The long retail hours are really tiring though, hats off to people who work in this line. Especially when we bring our snow dogs out to man the store (like today), we almost died lugging those two around with us all the time.

Come by and say hi if you’re feeling hippie, in need of inspiration or some fresh basil! Food recommendation when you’re in the area: mala xiang guo at the food centre (look for the stall that has the laminated newspaper article in front of it) – it’s sooo good; D and I have been eating it almost everyday, to the extent of me getting a sore throat from all that chilli!

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Cool online stuff, Design, Life, Naiise

Laughter, Satisfaction, Discovery & Adventure

Hello everybody, and happy 2014!

May the year brings you lots of laughter, satisfaction, contentment and new adventures. At least, that’s what I want 🙂

It’s been really nice so far running in and out of meetings, meeting designers, brands and partners, designing and sending out newsletters (please subscribe!) and maintaining the Naiise.com space which I’ve come to love so much.

Because this is a show run double-handedly by D and I, every little progress we make is a cause for celebration. Like our revamped drop down menu, which allows us to feature more great brands that we bring in; our Top 10 Ways blog post where we penned down our dreams and aspirations for ourselves, and the business; and our upcoming projects, which I’ll talk more about at a later date. I also especially love designing tile banners that flow in a colour scheme, and having lots of friendly, inspirational guest curators to work with!

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It’s definitely a far cry from having 200 addressable employees to respond to emails I send out, often with an impatient tone. In fact, I didn’t even realise that I had become impatient, and that I was starting to speak to D like he was one of my “kids at work”.

It, of course, led to an argument which left me mad – mostly because I knew I was in the wrong.

I generally hate being wrong, but on the bright side, it’s pretty cool to have a “correct” boyfriend right?

The world is an amazing place, and sometimes even right in our backyard. Some of the coolest (I need to refrain from using the world “naiisest”) things I’ve come across this week:

I’ll try to remember more of these cool things to share, vice versa too?

On another note, really tired of the over-hipster-ed and artisanal-ed scene. It was kind of hilarious today at United Square when we passed by a laundromat with a Hipster Logo, and a pizza place serving artisanal coffee. I mean, really!?

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Design, Life, Naiise

The Holstee Manifesto and Mindful Living

RIP Nelson Mandela, truly. You shaped our world today immeasurably and as you pass on, we celebrate your life and your great achievements. Humbling start to the day, and a good time for some introspection.

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You’ve probably seen it shared on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest a million times over, well it’s time to own a piece of the Holstee Manifesto, and engage with this incredible brand and their story, while learning more about how they are trying to make this world a better place by encouraging mindful living.

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Design, Naiise

The super cool design stuff

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Totally my kind of morning, although I would (have) to substitute that pot of tea for coffee.

As I ease out of my current day job, I’ve been spending much of my evenings uploading amazing design products onto Naiise.com, which D runs. And humbling is the experience, as I interact – for the first time – with real designers, none of that wholesale, white-label stuff from Taobao. Their ingenuity, passion and love for creating great products that light up people’s life through function and design is really nothing short of admirable.

One of my favorite collections is the Room Copenhagen x Pantone Universe range of products which brings in these gorgeous Pantone shades in cups, bowls and plates. Seriously pretty! I can almost eat up that Lavender plate. Totally getting my hands on some, and then sticking some of Nat’s cassis macarons onto them for an orgasmically purple event.

The other super cool product that I really want is this madly intuitive Lexon clock which you can turn the alarm on/off just by flipping it over. I think it’s ingenious, and anyone who has spent scrambling over to the edge of your bed, tracing the charging wire to locate your iPhone, then madly swiping left to turn the alarm off, will probably agree as well.

Well, merry Christmas in advance – Naiise is only going to get better so help spread the word! 🙂 xoxo

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